Dear Wonderful Neighbors –
We are ORGANIZING because we want to keep the momentum going to kill the rezoning of AustinOaks to a PUD. Kill it dead. We have been contacted by neighbors all around our community area (from Allandale to 2222 to Spicewood to 360 and in between) that folks want to see re-development but NOT a PUD carte blanche approach. Its almost unanimous that folks want to keep the conventional zoning in place and build something in the right style for the area and for AUSTIN!
SITUATION: This developer from Dallas typically does downtown high rises and then flips the finished project to property management firms. If they can’t get PUD Zoning, they are unlikely to be interested in this property. To be pragmatic about it, negotiating with them for an amount of money for schools or a park isn’t going to work. Would you sell out your neighborhood for some crumbs from the developer? Do you really think the developer is going to throw in $30 million plus to build a new school? No, you don’t. its not reality. And this is why we need to kill this dead by working together with city leaders throughout the application process to STOP it in its tracks, lest we get BULLDOZED all along MOPAC.
STATUS: The developer (Spire Realty www.spirerealty.com) application is in the city staff's hands being reviewed against all the application rules and such. Next it will be headed for ZAP. Currently there is a delay due to citizen inquiry as to the validity of the traffic study. Thanks to a few concerned citizens the traffic study may be redone to more accurately reflect current traffic and traffic forecasting. We'll keep you posted here on this blog as the status changes.
MEANWHILE, WHAT YOU CAN DO: Here are some action items for YOU to stay involved and make a REAL difference until the PUD applicant goes before city council (...we don't yet know when this will be...):
#1 - Send an email (heck send one everyday!) to the case manager, Mr. Lee Heckman, outlining your objections to the PUD and letting the city staff know we don’t want the PUD in our neighborhood. Tell them its out of character for the neighborhood to have high rise buildings of any kind over 5 floors. Ask Mr. Heckman to put your comments in ANY and ALL backup or briefing materials he creates for the Environmental Board, the Zoning Commission and the City Council. Send your email to Mr. Lee Heckman at this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
#2 Email the Mayor and the members of the Austin City Council about your feelings about the PUD being granted to this developer and email this OFTEN. You can email them all in one simple step using this link: http://www.austintexas.gov/mail/all-council-members
#3 Ask council members and candidates running for office this question, “Do you support the Austin Oaks PUD? ” Have a conversation with them and find out where they really stand. Find out who is really out to PROTECT the NEIGHBORHOOD or who is really PROTECTING the DEVELOPERS or just PLAYING POLITICS.
#4 Copy all of these emails to email@example.com & nopudAUSTX@gmail.com
Here are talking points you can include in your email:
- This project does not meet the requirements for PUD zoning. There is nothing superior about the development. Everything they’re proposing to build can be built in conventional zoning.
- This is not a Neighborhood Center as envisioned in Imagine Austin. Retail is less than 5% of the project. And the developer removed one of 2 restaurants as a bargaining chip! The one thing we wanted.
- NW Hill’s Neighborhood Center is on Far West. Adding another Center with 10,000 people will be too much for the area. The intersection of Anderson Lane and Mopac will collapse if the Neighborhood Center suggested for the corner of Anderson/Mopac is also built.
- Preliminary and lowball estimates of the increase in traffic at MoPac and Spicewood Springs Rd. is 21,000 trips per day. (read: 21,000 additional cars on the road in the area each day).
- The site contains loads of oak trees and many are heritage trees, over 60 inches in diameter, and we can’t afford to lose those trees. There are over 72 heritage oak trees, in fact.
- Bulldozing the site and all of the trees will increase the HEAT SIGNATURE of the neighborhood SIGNIFICANTLY. This causes an increase in our utility rates, yet again.
- Additional residential units will add 125-150 students to already over-crowded schools. Doss has 940 kids this year and is sized for 530. This little school is overcapacity by 175% !!! Gullett, Hill, Highland Park, Murchison and Anderson are also already overcrowded without any new development.
- Seventeen story high rises do not belong in a residential neighborhood. They are out of character. But if we let in ONE giant highrise, the precedent will be set.
Lastly, if you have neighbors that want to participate in this effort, please forward this email to them and send us their email address and we will add them to this list serve. We have also set up a Facebook page entitled: No Pud, Not Now, Not Ever. Please like the page, post your comments and invite all of your Facebook friends to like the page. There is also additional info available at www.lovenorthaustin.com. Updates will be kept here at www.noPUD.weebly.com too.
Folks, this effort is a marathon – not a sprint!!!! So, please stay informed, stay enthusiastic and stay optimistic because together we can prevent the PUD and get a development plan and design that benefits the community and city of Austin without paving all the greenspace and building excessively in a vertically direction!
We will keep you informed of next steps as things develop at the city.
TOGETHER we can kill this PUD and we can protect our neighborhood!
Cecelia Burke and Madelon Highsmith